I haven’t done a video game review since my first run of the Dragon Age trilogy, and often whenever I complete my first play through of a game on Steam, I just review it there and that’s it. Although I love Slime Rancher and always come back to playing it, no review ever made it onto this blog because it’s not really the type of game genre that fits my review style. But, I have another indie game that does fit my way of writing these reviews.
That game is: The Cat Lady
This game is described as a psychological horror story of a woman named Susan Ashworth. Susan is struggling with clinical depression, she stays inside her apartment and summons stray cats to her home for company by playing the piano. Then one day, she attempts suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills (probably zopiclone or a benzodiazepine) but the Queen of Maggots gives her a chance to turn her life around if she eliminates five life-taking “parasites”, but along the way, she meets Mitzi Hunt who also has had a difficult past. Susan agrees to help Mitzi track down the person responsible for her boyfriend’s suicide and learns that life is worth living.
This isn’t like most games I’ve played, I’m so used to either action, or complex controls, but this game required a bit of puzzle solving and basic controls. I found myself stuck a few times before I finally got into the nitty-gritty of how to play. But in spite of that, the story made me continue. It felt so deep you know, just the eerie moments and the unfolding of Susan’s backstory how she becomes a better person.
Alright let’s talk characters. Firstly our protagonist, Susan seems very much like a loner who prefers the company of stray cats. One in particular named Teacup. I wanted to ask myself, why doesn’t she just adopt those cats? There’s no way that the building she lives has a “no pets allowed” rule, especially since there’s a dog-lover who lives right below her. I know many friends with depression and depression often comes with a cause. I wanted to know that from the beginning as the story progressed. Why did Susan want to end her life? Why did she hate flowers? Why was she miserable all the time? The answer, she lost the two people she cared about the most, and I’ll get more into that in a moment.
Mitzi Hunt was another interesting figure. She came along when Susan had nobody, and just like her, she lost everything too, but it was her brain cancer diagnosis that led to that. She had a boyfriend who was pretty much the only person in her life, until an Internet troll called The Eye of Adam persuaded her boyfriend Jack to end his life and Mitzi, well she wants nothing more but to confront this individual responsible for Jack’s death. Despite that, Mitzi always seemed so cheerful, no matter how upset Susan was and I guess that is what eventually led to them becoming friends. Mitzi knew her cancer would kill her someday, so she felt the need to get closure about Jack before it did.
The other characters serve minor roles such as the parasites Susan had to eliminate. Doctor X was probably the creepiest for me because whenever he killed his victims, he would use wires to shape their corpses to resemble famous pieces of artwork. No one knows what his motivations were.
This game had a lot of eerie moments, so it’s hard to pick some that affected me the most. But I pulled through grabbing everything I could salvage when Susan was kidnapped by that crazy pest control man and his wife.
The fact that they were cat killers/cannibals was infuriating, so I wanted to make sure they got what they deserved.
I didn’t understand the man who came in to tie Susan and Mitzi up, what was his connection to them anyway? Susan’s backstory eventually unfolded: she was once married with a daughter and had to deal with a secret admirer. She and her husband argued when he felt she wasn’t contributing to the household (since he obviously didn’t know she was seeing someone else) and rarely spent time with him, during that their daughter, who was still an infant had a rare allergic reaction to pollen and died. Susan’s husband later drank himself to death. Like I said, depression is never without a cause.
At first I thought that we were going to control Susan and walk into Bryan’s apartment dressed up as the Cat Widow, but instead, after you get all the parts you need to make the costume, Susan tells it as a story and all you have to do is pick whatever dialogue choices that pop up to initiate how the scene goes. That was the other best moment. Just for fun, I picked the zombie cat dialogue choice to see what happened! That’ll teach him to hate on my feline friends. Like, I really wanted Bryan to be the bad guy in this game for some reason, because I hated him at first sight when he barged in to complain about Susan’s piano playing and the cats. I told him to go fuck himself, and I’m also thinking:
“Dude, you complain about cats in the building but what about the lady with the dog? She’s allowed to have a dog but Susan can’t have cats?!”
Ladies and gents, that is a cat hater right there and it makes me wish that I could dress up and do the same to anyone who hates cats. We don’t know if Bryan actually committed that horrible crime according to Susan’s story of the Cat Widow, but either way, he totally deserved to get that scare from her. Best of all, I love how she did this for personal reasons rather than to find out if he was who Mitzi was looking for. Don’t mess with the Cat Lady!
The final encounter with The Eye of Adam left me surprised. He was literally what his title imposed. He appeared paralyzed and hooked up to several oxygen tanks. There was no revalation as to why he was like that, but he could only move his left eye and used it attached to a device to type on his computer. There’s not much that goes into his backstory otherwise, so it’s hard to say how good he was as a villain other than the fact that he was very manipulative.
I’m also curious about Joe Davis and Ivy, apparently there’s another game called Downfall that reveals more, especially what happens to Ivy. But from what I can tell, Joe is a disturbing person.
The game has different endings and it felt more intense if Mitzi was still alive. I chose to prevent her from killing Adam, no matter how much I thought vengeance was the answer. Maybe Adam was in a really bad accident that paralyzed him so he decided to take out his frustrations online to innocent people; something I think is cruel and will never understand why people do it. He would also encourage suicide, because he probably wanted to die too rather than spend the rest of his life practically on life support.
It makes me wish I could confront all the people in person who were nasty to me online and demand an explanation, but kill them? No, never. Hmmm, I wonder how many people have actually managed to do that and the troll actually realized their wrongdoing.
Anyway, when I return to this game, I’m gonna try for the golden ending. I will admit I also like the hallucinations and parallel worlds Susan goes through. They were very well done meeting what I’d expect from this type of horror.
Overall, great indie horror game with unexpected events throughout the story, I’ve got almost all the achievements in this game, which I’ve never done before, now I would like to play Downfall next to learn more about Joe.